Egyptian leader of the Muslim Brotherhood says Qatar has asked several of the group's prominent members to leave the country, though Qatari diplomat contradicts Amr Darrag's account of why members have left - @nytimes
Writer Peter Theo Curtis upon return to US: 'I have been so touched and moved, beyond all words, by the people who have come up to me today - strangers on the airplane, the flight attendants and, most of all, my family to say welcome home. I am also deeply indebted to the U.S. officials who have worked on my case. I especially want to thank the government of Qatar for intervening on my behalf' - statement
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, on report finding Pentagon acted unlawfully in Bowe Bergdahl swap: 'This GAO report confirms my belief that the Administration violated the law when it released and transferred these dangerous Taliban detainees without notifying Congress as the law clearly and unequivocally requires. It is highly likely that these men will return to the fight against our country after their year in Qatar' - statement
US State Department official: Secretary Kerry spoke with foreign ministers from Turkey, Qatar and Israel's Netanyahu and has scheduled a call with Palestinian President Abbas; Kerry learned of Hamas breaking Gaza ceasefire from online report - pool report via @NBCNews
Editor's note: Reuters is reporting that officials from US, UK, Germany, Italy, EU, Turkey and Qatar will attend talks on Saturday in Paris aimed at converging "all efforts" for a ceasefire in Gaza. Reuters is citing a Frence diplomatic source. We'll update when there are more details and confirmation. - Stephanie
Qatar (/ˈkɑːtɑr/, /ˈkɑːtər/ or /kəˈtɑr/; Arabic: قطر Qatar [ˈqɑtˤɑr]; local vernacular pronunciation: [ɡɪtˤɑr]), officially the State of Qatar (Arabic: دولة قطر Dawlaṫ Qatar), is a sovereign Arab country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its territory surrounded by the Persian Gulf. A strait in the Persian Gulf separates Qatar from the nearby island kingdom of Bahrain. In 2013, Qatar's total population was 1.8 million; 278,000 Qatari citizens and 1.5 million expatriates.
Following Ottoman rule, Qatar became a British protectorate in the early 20th century until gaining independence in 1971. Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century. In 1995, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became Emir when he deposed his father, Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, in a peaceful coup d'état. He later abdicated in favor of his son, current Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in June 2013. Qatar's semi-elected Majlis al Shura has very limited legislative authority. After Saudi Arabia, Qatar is the second most conservative society in the GCC as most Qataris adhere to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam.
Qatar is the world's richest country per capita and has the highest human development in the Arab World; furthermore, it is recognized as a high income economy by the World Bank. Qatar has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels. Qatar has become an influential player in the Arab world. Qatar supported several rebel groups during the Arab Spring both financially and by asserting global influence through its expanding media group, Al Jazeera Media Network. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, becoming the first Arab country to host the event.